I Think I’m Hot But My Boyfriend Doesn’t Seem to Think So

Evan, I want an honest opinion on my predicament. I am in a year-long relationship and my boyfriend is a wonderful man. We have a strong connection and share a lot of values, views and interests. We’re getting pretty serious but there’s something that is eating me up inside. I think my boyfriend doesn’t think I am hot!

Being 5’5″ and 115lbs and measuring 34-26-35.5”, I always assumed that I was in the same league as a lot of celebrities who boast similar bodies. Granted, I am a little heavier towards my hips and have a bit wider frame but does 1″ really make a lot of difference here? Well, yes, according to my dear b/f. He basically told me that I can’t even compare myself to an actress or other celebrities (this ridiculous conversation started while watching TV and making comments about some actress). To him, I am “good looking” and “pretty” but, say, Angelina Jolie is “hot”, and “beautiful” and I am well… a regular person so I am not, how could I possibly be? He “likes me and finds me attractive”, but by no means am I nearly as good looking as a movie star, and I am crazy to be even comparing myself to them. That was the essence of the conversation. Of course, I felt hurt and I had a few “nice” things to say to him in response – as in “look who’s talking” kind of things and this conversation went downhill right away.

Now, am I crazy to be upset about this outlook of his? Men I dated in the past were (or at least acted the part) infatuated by me. I am used to hearing how beautiful I am. Men turn heads when I walk down the street. While I am totally OK with the idea that somebody doesn’t find me the most beautiful woman on the planet, which a lot of people probably don’t, I am somehow not OK with that person being my boyfriend! I mean, if he was truly into me, wouldn’t I be to him more beautiful than all Hollywood celebrities combined? Wouldn’t he be saying things like “honey, Angelina Jolie got nothing on you”? What happens if I gain weight with age – do I go from being “pretty” to “ugly, but I love you anyway because we have 2 kids and a mortgage and divorcing you is too damn expensive”? Am I being insecure and shallow for zooming in on this issue when everything else is fine, or have I got a legitimate concern? Is recognizing that your girlfriend is not ranking at the top of your scale in terms of looks but is the best “package” you can get in terms of looks-personality-values-etc. a sign of a mature man, or a sign of a man who’s not really in love? And most importantly, is this a deal breaker? –Diana.

Love. This. Question.

It’s a microcosm of every misinterpretation in every relationship ever.

And before I answer it, I want to share with you a story.

It was a tale from a linguistics professor in college who explained to the class that, in studies, men tend to be much more direct in their language. Women are subtle.

We can see this in many forms of personal interaction.

Because women are so kind and supportive, they don’t always speak their minds. They obscure the truth to be sensitive, but fail to communicate their true feelings.

Women are sensitive to each others’ needs. Men are blunt.

Women pick up on details. “What was he wearing? How did he kiss you? Where were you at the time?” Men just want to cut to the chase. “What’s the point?”

Women are supportive of their friends. “No, you don’t look fat in those jeans.”
Men cut their buddies down. “Dude, you gained, like twenty pounds!”

In fact, suffice to say, women are largely better and more sensitive communicators and men should really learn take a page out of women’s emotional playbooks.

Except for this one thing…

Because women are so kind and supportive, they don’t always speak their minds. They obscure the truth to be sensitive, but fail to communicate their true feelings.

My linguistics professor used an example of how a typical man and a typical woman would respond to being stuck in a hot classroom.

The man would say, “It’s hot in here! Open the window!”

The woman would turn to her friend and say, “Do you think it’s hot in here?”

The man issues a command. The woman tries to build consensus, but she doesn’t come out directly and say what she really wants: open the goddamn window!

I’m not going to get into some debate about whether this is 100% accurate, because it’s not. Not all men are direct. Not all women are subtle and nuanced.

But the reason I’m sharing this, in reference to your situation, Diana, is that the most interesting thing about women’s linguistics patterns can be summed up in one line:

Men say what they mean. Women don’t.

Thus, women are often surprised when men say what they mean.

You asked your boyfriend a question.

He gave you an honest answer. You seem shocked that he would do so.

Women are always asking for “honest” men, and then, when you finally get one, you would prefer if he told you something untrue.

I’d be shocked if he told you otherwise. His answer would be the exact same answer I would give to my wife. The difference is that:

a) My wife would never ask me to compare her to Angelina Jolie. She’s not that insecure.
b) My wife would not be surprised at my response, which is that she’s no Angelina Jolie.
c) My wife would not take it personally that I told her the truth, because she knows she’s no Angelina Jolie.

So what’s really going on, Diana, is that you wanted your boyfriend to LIE to you.

You didn’t want the truth. You wanted praise.

Even if it meant that he lied right to your face.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Women are always asking for “honest” men, and then, when you finally get one, you would prefer if he told you something untrue.

You basically set yourself up for failure on a couple of levels.

• You expected your boyfriend to be “infatuated” with you because other men have been. Sorry, sweetie. Infatuation is soooo high school.

• You insulted your boyfriend’s looks because he didn’t lie and tell you were as attractive as one of the most attractive women on the planet. Catty much?

• You actually feel that that a man who is truly into you would think you are more beautiful than all of the Hollywood celebrities combined? Really?

How much self-delusion do you have to have to say such things?

I mean, let’s just take it to the extreme:

A man with average looks, average intelligence and an average job gets pissed at his girlfriend who doesn’t think he’s the love child of Brad Pitt and Steve Jobs.

Note: the girlfriend didn’t say he’s “average”. She just said he’s not perfect.

Should he be upset? I sure don’t think so.

Obviously, she loves him – that’s why she’s his girlfriend.

But if you compare ANY man to the most impressive person in his/her field, ALL them are going to compare unfavorably.

So, to answer your question:

Are you being insecure and shallow for zooming in on this issue when everything else is fine, or have you got a legitimate concern? Is your boyfriend recognizing that you may not be at the very top of his scale in terms of looks but are the best “package” he can get in terms of looks-personality-values-etc? Is this a sign of a mature man, or a sign of a man who’s not really in love? And most importantly, is this a deal breaker?

I would only say this…

You’re spot on in assessing your boyfriend’s maturity. Well done.

The real question is whether it’s a deal breaker for HIM to stay with a woman who has such a hard time hearing the truth.

I’ve dated such women and personally, I would rather date a 7 who can accept reality than a 10 who expects me to lie to her.


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  1. 301

    Evan – I am really surprised at the insensitivity you’ve shown this lady. If you read chapter 7 of the book “For Men Only” by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn, maybe you would be a little more understanding of where this lady’s feelings are coming from. Just because a woman has the need to be the most beautiful woman in the world to her man does not mean that she is necessarily insecure.  Everyone has their own set of emotional needs and  should not be judged or criticized for them. It is very common for a woman to have this need.

  2. 302

    It’s one thing to not expect your man to find other women as physically attractive/more attractive. It’s another to have your man make the EXTRA effort of pointing out that you’re not as beautiful as some other woman/women, and questioning your ability to think rationally because you had the audacity to think you were.  I wouldn’t ask my man if I was as pretty as Halle Berry, because I know I’m not AND I know my value isn’t based on how I measure up to other women. But I also know that if I had access to the same resources celebrities have, I would be considered prettier. Hollywood “beauty” is often an illusion, and both men and women need to take a trip by reality. That’s why when these celebrity women are seen “in the wild”, without the benefit of Sam Fine’s makeup and Photoshop, they’re quite ordinary – INCLUDING Angelina.
    But if I did ask my man that type of question, I would expect him to say something like, “It really doesn’t matter. I’m with you, and I’m happy so there’s really no need to answer that, so I won’t”. Not, “Hell no…matter of fact, what made you even take the time to formulate that question??? You’re not even in the same league!!!” What would be the point? So, regardless of the fact that she wasn’t ready for the “truth” as he saw it, he still gets the “jerk” label, because it wasn’t necessary for him to go in like he did.
    We can keep it real, but we can also leave our partner with a measure of confidence – done out of a spirit of love and kindness, not the need to “tell it like it is”. It’s usually not what you say, but how you say it.  A kind man is more desirable that one who feels the need to be brutally honest, in a situation that doesn’t really require that hard of a hammer.
    With that said, this woman needs a reality check. The whole, “I’m used to being told I’m beautiful…” mindset is the problem, despite her words to the contrary.  Too many women have internalized the concept that women are most valuable when they’re beautiful – ain’t much else to us. That’s a problem, because “hot” women don’t have easier relationships – especially if their physical beauty is their only asset. Just because a man thinks you’re “hot” doesn’t mean he’s committed to you.  Being beautiful doesn’t promise quality, affirming, loving relationships. A lot of women (and men) can’t grasp this.

  3. 303

    I read the 5 love languages and it is an eye opener. The OP primarity love language most likely is word of affirmation. I am making this judgement from her response. I dont feel its insecurity its just how she felts love.  The point to relationship is to feel and share love. I see her side. My love language is time. No matter how great he maybe if I dont get that from him I am out because I dont feel loved. The challenge is to communicate that to our partner as well as know their love language. 

  4. 304

    Looks really aren’t everything. I was in love with a man who said I was the prettiest girl he dated and the best girlfriend he ever has but he left me because he was commitment phobic and there’s nothing I can do to change this. I don’t think a man or woman can think one person is the best looking the world because there are so many attractive people. And even if someone is attractive, some personality flaws could really kill the attraction. If a man treats you well, compliments you, is faithful to you and thinks very highly of you, then you are the most beautiful woman in the world to him because he wouldn’t do it for anyone else – you’re just more beautiful to him beyond looks which people can grow tired of.  

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